Before going to Vancouver, it seemed like everyone and their dog insisted we try Phnom Penh, a Vietnamese/Cambodian restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown. I had read about it on Urbanspoon, was very interested, and the number of recommendations from others gave it a spot on our list of must-try restaurants.
Their menu is quite overwhelming, not only by the number of dishes, but by the variety of food they offer. On the way to the restaurant, I was reading a great review from Senses Inspired and loved their review so much, we basically ordered the same food they did.
Here’s what we enjoyed:
1) Phnom Penh Deep Fried Chicken Wings. I have NEVER heard so much hype about chicken wings before. Seriously, with the hour-long wait to get in (they don’t take reservations) and all of the people insisting we have the chicken wings, I was expecting to be disappointed. How good could they be, right? I was wrong. They were DELICIOUS. So perfectly fried, with a light salt and pepper coating, and a lovely lemony-pepper sauce to dip in. The sauce seemed so simple, but was a great contrast to the salty wings. THESE WINGS ARE LIKE CRACK.
2) Phnom Penh Dry Egg Noodles. These dry noodles actually come with soup on the side. I have never been a fan of dry noodles, but my husband enjoyed it. It came with shrimp, pork, other meat I’m not sure about, and fresh herbs and green onion. It LOOKED beautiful. And to be fair, it was very tasty – if you like dry noodles.
3) Vietnamese Steamed Roll and Sauteed Thon Choy. I love steamed rolls — there is only one place in Calgary I know that serves it. This version was very yummy as well, with Vietnamese sausage on the side, and ground pork inside the rolls. You mix everything together and add the fish sauce on top. It’s a great combination of flavours and textures in your mouth. The Thon Choy (or Morning Glory) is a side of vegetables that is commonly found in Asia, but harder to find here. These were a bit tougher than we would have liked, but the garlic and chili flavour was amazing.
4) BBQ Lemongrass Chicken on Rice. We didn’t have to order this dish, but we wanted a rice dish for the baby. It was your standard lemongrass chicken, flavourful with a nice char on it (which in retrospect wasn’t the best dish to serve the baby, but she enjoyed it anyway). We felt bad that we left a pile of rice on the floor after we left, but that’s what happens when you dine with a one-year-old.
So it was definitely worth the hype. If you can, try to come earlier in the evening or on a weekday so you don’t have to wait as long. But we enjoyed every dish that we ordered, and if I lived in Vancouver, I would definitely be back to try some of the other dishes.
WHAT TO GET: The chicken wings and the steamed roll. So good…